A few years ago, I was a prosecution witness for a rather serious criminal trial.
Humility aside, I was the star witness. I had a perfect view of the crime and I had picked the two main perpetrators (there were four involved) out of a lineup, at first look — although the officer urged me repeatedly to study the six men and make certain I was correct.
Each time he suggested another look, I carefully studied each face. Three times, I said determinedly, “That’s him.”
Finally, the officer grinned and slightly nodded, “Thank you!”
Several times for different procedures, I was summoned to the courthouse to swear in and climb into the seat next to the judge. The first time was when one of the perpetrators — then alleged, now confirmed by both conviction and admittance — was appearing before the court to ask for reduced bond.
She had been jailed for several months because no one would bond her out. After a while, she was allowed a legal request for a lowered bond.
The assistant district attorney questioned me, then the public defender — who had only recently begun shaving, or so it looked — strutted to the witness box, looked me in the eye, and began the attack. On me. I was there to see that justice was done and, all told over the four years that the legal procedures took, it took two weeks of my time.
It didn’t take long for me to get mountain mad. Yet, I acted citified about it. Whenever he called into question my recounting, I was quick with a retort, precise and, on occasion, I used the few big words I know how to pronounce.
That day, the judge denied lower bond then looked over to the prosecution table. He said firmly, “I recommend that you bring this case to trial as quickly as possible. You have an excellent witness. Ms. Rich is certain of what she saw and she articulates it extremely well.”
I’m afraid that things might have changed a bit in the years that have trailed by. This is owing to the disagreements that Tink and I have over what was said or what was seen. My confidence has taken a punch.
Such as when Tink will say, “I did not say that.”
Then, that becomes 15 minutes of breaking down a conversation word for word. As unimaginable as it is, sometimes I am wrong. Like the time I declared there was not a gas station at the interstate exit that I had passed for years. There was.
Every wife knows that sending her husband to the grocery store is just asking for a fight. One day, I sent Tink with a list. On the back side, I organized the items in groups according to where they could be found in the store — produce, dairy, frozen, etc.
The next day, I was cooking and asked, “Where did you put the feta cheese?”
He was writing and barely looked up from his laptop. “You didn’t tell me to get feta cheese.”
“Yes, I did,” I responded firmly. “Because I wrote beside it ‘In the deli.’”
Well, this began a minor fuss. I didn’t list it, he knows where to find the feta, two lists were confusing and so forth. He ended with, “I know you always want to be right.”
I shot back, “I admit when I’m wrong but this time I am not. I am right.”
Of course, the grocery list had been tossed so we’ll never prove who was right or wrong unless it crosses our minds to ask Jesus when we get to heaven.
Jesus could say, “Forget the things of the world. They corrupt.”
I’m afraid these fusses might be corrupting my confidence and compromising my ability to be a star witness again.
Don’t worry, though — even Tink will admit that I’m rarely wrong.
I’m staying diligently mindful in the event that justice calls again.
Ronda Rich is the best-selling author of several books, including “What Southern Women Know About Faith.” Sign up for her newsletter at www.rondarich.com. Her column publishes weekly.